Helen Vendler is one of those rare scholar-writers who doesn’t adhere to a particular school of theory. In her new book of essays, she explains her view of criticism as distinct from both philosophy and scholarship, as a form of learning that’s inherently “unsystematic and idiosyncratic.” In Open Letters Monthly, Jack Hanson reads through the book. You could also read Jonathan Farmer on Rita Dove’s letter to Vendler.
Megaupload's demise has the internet in an uproar, but the shutdown of the sharing site is unlikely to put a dent in online piracy. Still, sites such as FileSonic, FileServe, and and Uploaded.to have taken matters into their own hands by disabling sharing access in the United States, and MediaFire's CEO has issued a preemptive statement on the matter. None of this is particularly surprising, though, which is why it's so refreshing--for all fans of Schadenfreude--to learn that Kim Dotcom, Megaupload's "Goldfinger"-esque founder, plans on releasing an album in the near future.
Tonight at the Pacific Standard Fiction Series in Brooklyn, Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine (which, according to Edan boasts "one of the best voices to come out of literature in the last…oh, ever, probably"), will be reading with Robert Lopez, author of Kamby Bolongo Mean River. As usual, I'll be hosting; it would be great to see you there. For more information, see Time Out New York.
We've written about the newly published Laura Ingalls Wilder memoir several times, but a new review in the LA Times calls attention to one of the most interesting questions raised by the work: how much influence did Wilder's daughter Rose Wilder Lane, an accomplished author in her own right, have on the final Little House books?
A new academic journal dedicated to critical explorations of “cultural products and services designated as pornographic” will debut next spring. “Porn Studies is a direct outgrowth of the mounting scholarly interest in the topic of pornography as a significant, yet relatively under-examined, realm of popular culture,” writes Lynn Comella.
"Secret societies, camorras, mafias, et al., have no place in a detective story. To be sure, the murderer in a detective novel should be given a sporting chance; but it is going too far to grant him a secret society to fall back on. No high-class, self-respecting murderer would want such odds." -From the much-quoted 1928 essay by SS Van Dine, noted art critic and mystery writer, on the 20 rules for writing detective stories. (via Guardian)